Australia is too often lightly dismissed with a few paragraphs in geography and virtually no mention in history, and actually it has an exceedingly interesting story -- a dramatic development over 150 years, from convict and penal colony to one of the most liberal of modern democracies. World War I gave it its place in the Dominions; World War II is giving it its place in the world. This is not only its history, but an excellent survey of its unique geographical features, its life and people; the leading figures, from Captain Cook through Bligh, Macquarie, Wentworth, Henry Parkes; Sturt, Stuart and others, political figures, figures in industrial and labor history, explorers. One could wish for more space on Australia today, but on the long range view, the war will be but one phase of its history. This is definitely a background book. The decorative and illustrative aspects, the beautiful format, give it an appeal beyond that usually achieved by even glorified ""geographies"".